Entries: Innovative Minds 2013: Virtual Context

Gurroo.com would like to thank the judges. Their time and expertise was invaluable to the success of this competition. Competition judges and competition information is listed after projects.




Project Title: Orbs

Self Efficient Eco Moving Display Balls in Brasil
By: Adnane El Younsi and Pierre David
School: Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture
Location: Nantes, France

Site : a large country living religiously for sport.

Brasil will host the next fifa wolrd cup of football in june 2014. This competition will take place in 12 cities all around this very large country, from North to South. Cities known all around the world like Rio de Janeiro, Sao paulo or Brasilia will be part of the event.
Football satuts in Brasil is more like a religion than anything. Every brasilian people lives through football. Brasilian football is famous for its history in the Wolrd cups and its stars such as Pelé, Garrincha, Romario, Ronaldo.
Games will take place almost every day in different stadiums that will not be able to host everyone who would like to attend the games.
Our goal through this proposition is to offer the cities of Brasil a device to display the games to every one.

Scenario : Follow the orb

On the occasion of the next World Cup hosted by Brazil, the 12 host cities offer mobile and autonomous devices. These devices are inspired by the geometry of soccer ball, they are covered with hexagonal and pentagonal LED faces. These devices roam through the city before games, and brodcast some pre-match commentary, prognostic … They bring people together and guide them to popular public places like the place Arcos da lapas or Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro. There, fans can watch the game. The sphere has two hemispherical screens on each side, separated by the wheel that ensures the displacement of the ball. This allows each side to support his team. Once finished the match, the ball returns to its migration and leave for other horizons.At night, when the games are finished, the sphere transforms into a bright and loud orb that illuminates and enlivens the place.

Concept : A rolling allegory

Our proposition for the World cup is a transposition of the shape of the foot ball. By changing its scale we make it a 12 meters large display travelling across cities thanks to a monowheel added in its middle.
We have added a bar at the bottom of the sphere to supply the party.
The top of the ball will be covered with solar panels to provide the energy needed by the display and the electric motor.



Project Title: Excavating Utopia

By: Matthew Hung
Location: United Kingdom


This utopian project speculates on the makeup of a high-tech business incubator established in and around Claude Nicolas Ledoux’s Saline Royale in France under a not too distant projected future. A future where the continuing migration of our lives into the virtual realm has reached an equilibrium.

The extreme stereotype of the geek is used as a model citizen where work and play is indistinguishable. Such is the level of obsession and dedication to their high-tech hobby, their professional and leisure lives collide in the first instance. Boundaries then blur and soon disappear. Those in the utopia who cannot embrace the concept that “work” can also be “play” are relegated to the underclass of a Keeg, the reverse of a geek both in mentality and alphabetically. This servant class hangs onto the outdated mentality of “working to live”. The lack of interest in their professional roles means that they are free to tackle the mundane tasks of everyday life that geeks have little time for.

Within this utopian society, geeks circulate the urban realm using linear paths which allow them to delve into the virtual realm at will without the fear of accidents. Gone are the traditional notions of circulation such as sidewalks, roads and cars which caused the virtual to be labelled as distractions during our daily commute. Instead, the proposed system integrates this fundamental means of communication by restricting non-essential decision making in the built environment.

This radical yet simple change demands a complete rethink of current building typologies provoking novel architectural inventions which address not only the prevalence of the virtual but also the trending cultures that has been made possible as a result.



Project Title: Sagay: Tubbataha Marine Life Sanctuary

By: Ma.Concepcion V. Roxas,John Nikko Macabagdal,Jenilyn A. De Robles,Christian Lyle D. La Madrid,Junellene Feliz R. De Jesus,Fernando Angelo B. Lagman
Location: Philippines

Coral Reefs are marine structures made of limestone formed by the skeletons of colonies of coral polyps. They are one of the most valuable and diverse ecosystems in the world. The biodiversity within this ecosystem include fish, molluscs, worms, crustaceans, echinoderms, sponges, tunicates, and other cnidarians. These marine structures are a sight to behold because of the various colors and forms of life that exist. (http://www.msc.ucla.edu/sswims/links_files/FrankLessonPlan.pdf)
Although reefs cover only 0.2 per cent of the world’s ocean, they contain about 25 per cent of marine species and are renowned for their biological diversity and high productivity. (http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/wcp/agm/publications/documents/Climate_Carbon_CoralReefs.pdf)
This somewhat rare occurrence, however, doesn’t save from destruction caused by various causes.
Located at Cagayancillo, Palawan, Philippines, The Tubbataha reef is one of the most gifted reef systems in the world. It houses 396 species of corals—85% of all coral species in the Philippines, 80% of those in the Coral Triangle and about half of all coral species in the world. However, the reef is plagued with different reef destruction causes – dynamite fishing and ship grounding incidents among others. In recent years, the threats are presently held at bay by Tubbataha’s park management – at least for irresponsible fishing. (http://wwf.org.ph/wwf3/downloads/publications/TubbatahaCaseStudy.pdf)
While the reef is monitored by reef rangers 24/7, the damaged reefs caused through the years cannot be brought back unless we take action. This is the sole purpose of the Marine Sanctuary (NAME OF STRUCTURE) – to protect and recreate lost coral reefs. This tourism infrastructure will house restaurants, tourist centers, marine ranger reef monitoring offices, and a Virtual Marine Life Immersion (VMLI) Facility.
This facility will immerse the users on what marine life looks and feels like as if you were underwater. This facility employs virtual information through visual representation of true to scale marine life projections. There are three levels of VMLI Facilities. The first level depicts the destruction of the coral reefs through man-related activities. The second level depicts the destruction of the reefs through natural causes or global warming. The bottom most level depicts a utopia of coral reefs where man and corals co-exist and benefit mutually.
Coral reef growth ranges from 5 mm/year to 100 mm/year. The structure is made with steel structural members that are fitted with low-voltage electrical current to facilitate accelerated reef growth. In time, even when the structure is still operational or abandoned, the structure itself will become a coral reef haven replacing the reef destroyed from Tubbataha reef. This new coral reef will become the largest man-made coral reef that will house millions of marine flora and fauna. The vision of creating a safe house for marine life while maintain human activities and progress will be fulfilled by this development.

Design Concept
Resurgence: Reef restoration through human virtual visual awareness and regrowth.
Through the efforts of the Philippine government, NGOs and the residents of Cagayancillo(introduction of place), Tubbataha reef is slowly recovering from the devastation of poaching and irresponsible fishing. However, even with the full effort of the Tubbataha Park Management, There are still incidents of ship grounding and illegal fishing happening. The concept is creating awareness from bottom up to the people of the country, foreign tourists and officials through a tourist destination that will provide a Virtual Visual Presentation about the reef system. Moreover, To bring Tubbataha back to its pristine glory, the regrowth of the reef that were destroyed should be facilitated and accelerated.
Reef building coral polyps will be fitted throughout the structure in depths that are suitable for corals to live in. This facilitated growth of corals will make the coral reef and the structure one. The concept of resurgence of the coral reefs with the efforts of human intervention will become a model of reef preservation and regrowth.



Project Title: NEOCORTEX

By: Sarah Hatch
School: Fashion Institute of Technology
Location: New York, New York

Exploratory Collaboration Laboratory for Advancement in Neurotechnology

Brain science is today’s greatest frontier. A great mystery in science and challenge in medicine, discovering the brain will lead to powerful capabilities, providing insight into health and performance. Technologies being invented rapidly can be applied to learn the brain’s language, responding to the speed of thought. This is our foundation for new insight, impacting future information, communication, and building technologies.

We need a place promoting public awareness of development, engaging all types of people, showing impact on life, spreading enthusiasm about biotechnology’s future, bringing it to a personal level. Researchers need a hub, and public access to make their work known.

At Neocortex, researchers and the public learn together, aiding each other in the brain’s exploration. The public is directly exposed to research processes, and scientists access the public as research samples.

Located in a historic building in Manhattan’s Civic Center neighborhood, the design intervention references the existing architecture, showing the original structure’s elements. The design inserts a new, living, breathing, architecture into the existing shell, reflective of biological forms. Spaces become kinetic and responsive to people inside them. Membranes based on morphologies act as boundaries changing shape and form, expanding, contracting, opening, and closing. They control privacy, view, light, and climate, customized to users inside.

As the design intervention is porous to the existing structure, the scientific community is permeable to the public. Layers of information are exposed – science to visitor, and old building to new structure, allowing glimpses into our past, and a nurturing a leap into our future. With president Obama announcing a brain science initiative recently in April, he states, “now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the space race.” Experience how brain science will change your life and your world. Enter Neocortex.



Project Title: Systems Culture: Virtual Scales

By: Yunlong Chen (Leo), Yiming Li (Lucas)
School: The University of Melbourne
Location: Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Chapter 1: Summary

In our project we have explored how individual “kits” fit together to produce affects similar to those of Ai Weiwei’s “society machine” as seen in “Forever Bicycles”. We have used 3D simulation of reaction diffusions and the 3D printing process as tools to explore this theme. This exploration has produced an architecture characterized by complex spatial interconnections, amorphous forms, transparencies and complex tessellation systems.

Chapter 2: Context

• Ai Weiwei’s project “Forever Bicycles” represent Chinese people who try to behave extremely modularly with limited freedom. And somehow, people become mechanical kits that assemble an interesting society.

• The motive behind this project is that how the complex large-scale “social machine” may emerge from cogs and local rules.

• We use 3D simulations of Reaction Diffusion system because they represent the motive.

Chapter 3: Systems & Scale

We investigated RD algorithm to produce affect on different architectural scales: Spatial arrangement; Form generation; Ornament.

3.1 Spatial arrangement:
We use RD to create architectural diagrams because it naturally generates spatial void, solid and spatial interconnections.

3.2 Form generation:
Organic shaped Column; Layers of Atrium; Feature Wall; Bridge

Inspired by the 3D printing process, we use scaffold to create layers of transparencies, limitations and structures.

3.3 Ornament:
We apply characteristics of 3D printed RD prototype into ornamental tiling system. These individual 3D modules form a big image by tessellation systems and wrap around surfaces to archive semi-transparent affect. We also purely use the reaction diffusion form to build a feature wall for entrance.

Fabrication of tiles: 3D printing is chosen as fabrication method, because this particular type of 3D printer has its distinct logic of creating “side affects” which produces sub-structures and characteristics:

• Regularity and modularity of grid scaffolds
• Intensity of construction methods create different transparency
• Contrast of smoothness and roughness
• Flatness and carved voids
• Contour lines forming double curve areas in contrast with parallel filling methods
• Perfection and Imperfection throughout a physical simulation of a digital model



Project Title: Sensory Journey

By: Marina Ninic
Location: Croatia

This project consists of both physical and virtual architecture linked by technology that uses real world locations as a template and has a specifically designed virtual architecture set within that real world.

The chosen site is Krka National Park, situated in Croatia. The location is determined by the sites of former medieval fortresses in the area. The fortresses are now in ruins and one of them is completely gone. This site was chosen because of its exceptional nature and rich cultural and historical heritage which is unfortunately neglected today.

The target users are handicapped people. In reality, it would be almost impossible for them to see and experience the National Park because of its vast inaccessibility. With this form of multidimensional reality, everyone would have a possibility of actually experiencing a beautiful, almost hidden site, not only visually, but through all of the senses and through different changes that the location went through in history (made possible by the virtual infrastructure and architectural elements).

The physical part of the sensory journey is a prefabricated pavilion where users would gather and use technology to transfer to the virtual world. It can exist in any place for which a virtual journey is designed. Tortuosity and fluidity of the pavilion resembles the path designed in the virtual world.

The sensory journey that begins at the pavilion theoretically continues along the path of a chosen site and finally, it ends up back in the pavilion, although the user is present there the whole time. The user can go on a journey of several kilometers, where in reality they only go through a hundred meters long pavilion.

This concept of experiencing space can be applied to any selected location, allowing users to learn something that they otherwise could not. For example, in some urban area, holographic projections in the virtual world can show us the new buildings or city areas that could be built there in the future.



Project Title: Ephemeral Void

By: Sonnja Isabel Cabrera Galina and Mariana Romero Huízar
School: Universidad Iberoamericana
Location: Mexico City, Mexico

The Internet has provided the world with a virtual web where users can exchange information; we could speak of it as a “virtual context”. This virtual context is an ephemeral space, where information is sent, delivered and received; it is not contained within physical boundaries. The project stems from an attempt to link a virtual context, characteristic of the 21st century, with the built environment in order to improve the life quality of users living within an urban context.

There are two main stakeholders, one of them being the site: the Zócalo, Mexico City’s most important public space and it’s main square, located in the city’s downtown district; and the other being the virtual context: a holographic projector is used to create three-dimensional images that can be seen in broad daylight.

The legal framework does not permit permanent construction on the Zócalo, for it would compromise the urban void within the morphology of Mexico City’s downtown district. The project consists of building ephemeral spaces to deal with the many activities that take place in this site. Users can control the content of the holographic projections. The project is set to transform the Zócalo into a flexible space, where a wide range of images can be projected during different periods of time. The projections provide the void with ephemeral constructions, thus the space can change in just seconds by turning on the holographic projectors and it can adapt to the vast program of activities that take place on a daily basis. Architecture becomes part of the virtual context but is set in a built environment.

In this specific case the chosen site was the Zócalo, however it is envisioned that the use of the holographic projectors will reach different scales, solving issues in the built environment by means of a virtual ephemeral construction.



Project Title: Balloon City

By: Do Gwanghun and Jung Hyojung
School: Collage of Architecture Myungji University
Location: South Korea

When I want to enjoy the city, What I most want to know is ‘at this moment, where is the space of ambience that I want?’
Externals of architecture is more brilliant than ever, but still concealing many things, splendor is just exaggerated.
This project is structure that makes the city from the real image of people hidden under the facade.
If hearts of people excited in the building beated quickly, balloon of rooftop would be inflated.
But if the building’s ambience is relatively calm, balloon would go smaller.
Through the advanced technology, the most honest signal can be read all around the city.
when people’s heartbeats make the city, the city can show more effective reflection than anything else.



Project Title: Gazebo between the world.

Location: Seoul, South Korea

My one big thought is forming space that affected by virtual and real world’s climate(mood) to cope with the virtual world’s environment.

The world are nor formed just by physical factors. Reciprocal interaction between force and particle forms the world. Even though it is hard to feeling the virtual world, the virtual is affecting the real world. The affection can be negative and positive. If the affection is negative we need to notice the affection to deal with negative effect ; like people preparing the winter season when they feel the cold environment. And if the affection is positive, we also need to know to sharing the pleasant affection that brings us better world.

The gazebo between the world enable people to feel the virtual world by using two face surface. One face’s tint is changing depends on the words used on the web. If the the words mean violent sense, the tint is turn to negative mood color. And if the words meaning is positive, surface’s color turn to warm color. The other face shows real world’s environment. By overlapping and distorting the two faced surface, people in the gazebo can vividly experience the virtual and real world.


Wolsong-ri, Yeoju-eup, Yeoju-gun, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea.

Exemplary site to contrast the real and virtual world.



Project Title: What about spam?

By: Wojciech Swarowski
School: Poznan University of Technology
Location: Poznan, Poland

The proposed project was an experimental way from the past to the present by the future. I tried to create a simulation of the some prediction and illustrate how could the computer and the Internet influence us.

My statement was that old reality could be replicated and changed to virtual life. The world without any disease and death. People become who they want. And share the memory, the experiences and feelings. Anyone could be anywhere. But anyone need money. Value of the money will not change. If you have money, you might be anyone in new reality. If not you will be homeless. Virtual life is the biggest market on the Earth.

As you see, this improved reality would have the same problems (such as overpopulation or homeless). I used the architecture to solve them.

The main idea was to make use of the spam. More than 80% of the world’s email traffic is now spam and the transmission and receipt of unwanted email gobbles up 33bn kilowatt-hours of electricity a year. Therefore, I tried to change the pejorative nature of spam in something good like a building’s material.

Then, I noticed the opportunity to build the city ‘between city’. I created the spam-network in which I put non-profit structure for all of the people.

The design concept shaped the final project. I transformed the future structure to the single unit, which could be build nowadays. The product is made by wooden and steel scraps, covered with polyester’s-, polyethylene-layers and attached by carbon sleeve to the existing buildings.

The unit creates the new environment. It could fill the gaps or even create a new city. Visitors, homeless, or just students could rent the single structure and use it as a shelter for couple days. Perhaps, the proposal architecture-structure responds even to the problem of the nomadism.




By: DANIEAU Emeline and SABLÉ Camille
School: Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture
Location: Nantes, France

Brazil will receive the football World Cup in 2014. Rio de Janeiro is one of the cities hosting the event. Our project responds to this worldwide, well known competition. It is an answer to three different scales: first the worldwide and urban, then the Lapa’s neighborhood and the surroundings and the third the human scale.
First, the architecture is thought as an icon, a symbol of this Brazilian World Cup. It is recognizable by its height, which echoes to the surrounding buildings.
Then, the project uses the square as a gathering space. Its implantation keeps the characteristics of the place, a free space where the movement never stops.
For the neighborhood scale, the structure is a meeting and a sharing point, to become a hotspot where supporters can exchange about matches.
The project is a new concept of watching football, with a total immersion in the heart of football and the architecture. The crowd is in the center of the action and can feel the match tension. The stadium environment is decomposed in screens and one ribbon expresses one information. All the architecture is living the football rhythm, expressing feelings with sounds and colors.
A space is generated between the indoor screens and the ribbons’ coiling for chilling and watching anthology of football matches. These spaces surround the heart as chapels’ church.
The ribbons, representing the Brazilian culture and the surrounding information, gather in the heart of the city, rolling up and growing up till the sky and become a real temple dedicated to the football worship.


Judging Panel:


Jamison McBride, Holabird & Root – Chicago
Travis Bridges, AIA, OKW Architects – Chicago
Michael Everts, AIA, NCARB, Associate Professor of Architecture, Montana State University
Joe Procunier, Editor Gurroo.com

This year the competition applicants registered from 16 different countries. Gurroo.com will be making a donation to an Open Source BIM development organization in the near future to help enhance collaboration in the digital design community.

Design Challenge:


In today’s world, information is delivered through advanced technologies and is changing the way we interact with the physical world.  Information is exchanged through a virtual world built on the framework of the internet, computers, and mobile technology.  This changes the way we interact with the built world.  How interconnected can virtual and physical worlds become and how does this relationship influence physical architecture and its context? 

This design competition is an exploration into the relationship between an architectural design, the virtual world, and your chosen site.  Investigate the influence of the virtual world blending with physical architecture.   How does this process help solve some of the increasingly complex issues in our world today?  How are the users and site influenced by this concept? 


Physical Architecture + Virtual + Context 

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